Propane-powered bus debuts in Cherokee

 Cherokee Tribune

Seniors, families and individuals in Cherokee County who rely on public transportation will now have upgraded public transport to traverse the county.

Cherokee County staff, officials and other personnel involved in bringing new buses to the county

met Tuesday for a ribbon cutting to formally unveil the county’s two propane powered buses. The buses will help people across the county get to their destinations.

Cherokee Area Transportation Service purchased three propane-powered buses from Coach and Equipment Bus Sales, Inc. in February to replace aging buses in the fleet. The cost for all three was $307,553, with $261,420 paid for with a Federal Transportation Authority grant and $46,132 from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The two buses are the first propane-powered transit buses in Georgia, according to the county.

They will start running Monday, with a third bus awaiting delivery.

The new vehicles will replace three aging buses currently in the fleet that provide service for CATS’ Fixed Route Service. The Fixed Route Service offers those in need of transportation assistance a regularly scheduled route for a small fee. CATS also provides a Demand Response Service where residents can schedule their rides for things like doctor’s appointments.

“We are excited to bring in three new vehicles that use a cleaner fuel source and have expected lower maintenance costs,” Cherokee County Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds said. “With the purchase, we were able to secure increased federal transportation support and a Federal Transit Authority fuel subsidy, saving our taxpayers money.”

In partnership with the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, the county invited representatives from Roush Clean Tech and the Propane Education and Research Council. Roush Clean Tech’s Gen 5 propane system was integrated with the Ford 7.3-liter engine. It’s more compact, cleaner and more efficient, according to the county.

Steve Whaley, director of autogas business development for the Propane Education and Research Council, talked about the economic and environmental benefits of propane autogas.

“We’re proud to add Cherokee County to the growing list of paratransit fleets across this country that are operating with propane autogas,” Whaley said. “Cherokee County is prioritizing providing a safe, clean ride for their community while lowering their operating costs. It’s a win for environmental sustainability and a win for their financial sustainability.”

There are advertising opportunities on the three new vehicles with various size and duration options available. The county has partnered with Tri-State Communications to handle sales and design. For more information, contact Bill West at bill@wljaradio. com.